April 27, 2018 / 6:58 AM / a year ago

Australian shares at 6-week high on strong health care sector; NZ jumps

* Aussie shares finish near 6-week high

* Health care stocks lead gains in Australia and NZ

* CSL rises to record high (Updates to close)

April 27 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed near a six-week high on Friday, led by health care stocks, after Wall Street climbed on strong earnings and a drop in U.S. Treasury yields.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 percent or 42.8 points to 5,953.6 to end at its highest since March 19, racking up a weekly gain of around 1.4 percent - its biggest since February. The benchmark declined 0.2 percent on Thursday.

U.S. equities rallied the day before boosted by strong quarterly earnings and after the yield on U.S. 10-year Treasuries closed below 3 percent.

In Australia, health care stocks accounted for most of the gains and rose to a record as positive sentiment emanating from a takeover bid for Healthscope continued to spill over to the broader sector.

Biotherapeutics company CSL Ltd rose 2.9 percent to its highest ever, lifting the benchmark, while medical device company Cochlear Ltd jumped 2.8 percent to a record high.

Materials also gained, with gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd rising about 3.1 percent to a near two-month high.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index firmed 1.1 percent or 88.32 points to finish the session at 8,370.37, and gained 0.6 percent for the week.

Health care stocks led gains in New Zealand as well, with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd surging 3.5 percent, while Ryman Healthcare Ltd ticked up 0.9 percent.

Industrials underpinned the bullish trend, with Auckland International Airport Ltd adding 2.1 percent, its biggest intraday percentage rise in about 10 weeks.

The airport operator said earlier that its total passenger numbers rose an annual 8.5 percent in March. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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